Al Green will never go out of style.
It may be stating the obvious, but in an age where singers are Auto-Tuned to the point of sounding like robotic schoolgirls (even the male singers!), we need to be reminded of the purity a real singing voice can have.
That reminder came earlier this year when President Barack Obama adequately crooned a line from Green's "Let's Stay Together," during a fundraiser in Harlem. After video of Obama's rendition of the 1971 hit went viral, the song had a weekly sales boost of 490 percent, with 16,000 downloads in the week ending Jan. 22, according to Billboard. Green told TMZ that Obama "nailed it." No disrespect to the president, who can clearly carry a tune, but he really can't touch Green's soaring falsetto and soulful voice. It's a voice that inspired a generation to get busy creating the next generation.
Arguably one of Green's most famous songs, "Let's Stay Together" is part of pop culture in ways that few songs are. With Green coming to Westbury on Friday, we decided to look at a few favorite moments when the classic became ingrained in our collective conscientiousness.
"Pulp Fiction," 1994 Quentin Tarantino is a master at using music in his films to set the mood of a scene, whether it's the surf-guitar riffs of Dick Dale in "Pulp Fiction's" opening credits or Urge Overkill's remake of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" playing in the background before Uma Thurman's Mia Wallace hoovers a few rails of heroin she thought was cocaine. It's no accident that Tarantino uses Green's tribute to romantic commitment to intro the scene in which boxer Butch (Bruce Willis) agrees to take a flop for mobster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames).
Tina Turner's cover version, 1983 Turner's remake of the song helped return the R&B queen to prominence after her success in the Ike & Tina Revue. When the single became a hit in the United Kingdom and the United States, her label offered her a deal with demands for a new album immediately. Finished in a few months, "Private Dancer" made her a superstar.
"Ally McBeal," 1999 In the episode "Seeing Green," lovelorn lawyer Ally McBeal (Calista Flockhart) starts having hallucinations featuring Green. The episode's high point comes when Green, appearing as an electrician, leads Ally's co-workers in a hilariously campy version of the song. What makes the scene great is that Green gets to show off a playful, funny side few knew he had.
Honorable mention Since about five people watch "Treme" -- "The Wire" creator David Simon's ode to New Orleans -- you may have missed that moment in season 2, in the episode "What Is New Orleans?," where Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce) uses the song's seductive powers to lure a crowd away from a club to see his show at another club. Even in jazz-crazy New Orleans, it's easy being into Green.
WHO Al Green, with Lalah Hathaway
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
INFO $62.50-$74; 800-745-3000, livenation.com